What does two plus two equal? Ask almost anyone and they will quickly answer: four. Or perhaps not so quickly, if you’ve asked a recent arts graduate. But even they will get there, eventually, if born with an adequate finger supply.
Let’s suppose, however, that their answer is the same as four but is expressed in a pointlessly complicated way. “36,527 minus 36,523,” they might reply. Or “the composite number found between the two first-occurring prime numbers”. Or “the square root of sixteen”.
For good reason, you might wonder at the motivation behind this mathematical posturing. Maybe your respondent is seeking to embarrass or confuse you, in which case a beating should be arranged. “How many broken ribs do you have?” you may later ask of that composite-number fellow, as a mathematically-themed part of your payment calculations.
Then again, it could be that concealment is the aim.
Certain people—lawyers, for example, and anyone involved in drafting taxation legislation—delight in disguising simplicity beneath needless complexity. I was once directed to a “ground-based facility” at a concert venue; turns out this was a tent. And every journalist has endured police media conferences featuring lines like: “The vehicle was travelling in a northerly direction when it left the road surface …”
Those last two cases are relatively innocent and easily decoded. Not so the language used by our carbon-panic community, who resort to an extraordinary variety of tricks in order to sell their message of doom. They do this because they cannot otherwise escape one awkward and devastatingly simple fact.
Australia produces just 1.3 per cent of the planet’s alleged global warming gases.
This means that even if Australia were to be removed from the earth in its entirety—every factory, every road, every vehicle, every supermarket, every airport, every head of livestock, every coal mine, every speck of soil and every Australian—it would make no significant difference at all to the planet’s carbon-emissions wellbeing. “If reducing emissions really is necessary to save the planet, our effort, however Herculean, is barely better than futile,” Tony Abbott pointed out last year in his excellent London speech, “because Australia’s total annual emissions are exceeded by just the annual increase in China’s.”
At which point the debate should end. We’re too tiny to cause any climate change impact, so let’s talk about something else. Got any plans for the weekend? Is the V6 version of VW’s Amarok really all that much better than the cheaper four-cylinder? How many hours of community service did you cop for that hit on the prime numbers bloke?
Climate obsessives don’t yield so easily to logical barriers. A few years back they launched the “per capita” argument to express Australia’s carbon output. As you’d expect, this strategy was led by the United Nations. “If the rest of the world emitted carbon gases at the same per person rate as Australia, its population would need seven planets to sustain the pollution, according to a damning United Nations report,” Fairfax’s Adam Morton wrote in 2007. “Australia is third in per capita emissions to the US and Canada, which would both need to spread the world’s people across nine planets.”
One year later, another Fairfax climate crank, Kenneth Davidson, took matters even further. He swept the US and Canada aside and unilaterally appointed Australia as the world’s worst per-capita emitter. “Australia is the highest per capita greenhouse gas polluter in the world, with levels twice those of European countries and Japan, and seven times the per capita emissions of China and India,” he declared.
Davidson was still banging on about our per-capita climate criminality in 2011: “For Australia, as the highest per capita emitter in the world, this means becoming a zero-emissions economy within a decade.”
Or we could just massively increase our population, which would obviously add to our overall carbon dioxide output but at the same time reduce the per capita number—which is apparently the more important figure. A quick check of comparative national outputs, however, showed that Davidson’s UN-derived panic claim was completely wrong. Several nations worldwide have us beaten in the great per capita carbon stakes.
It seems the likes of Qatar and Trinidad and Tobago are the real threats to planetary health. These carbon titans are out to crush the world with their carbon dioxide wickedness.
“We have, in recent times, surpassed giant nations in our impact on the world,” lamented Trinidad and Tobago Newsday journalist Desiree Sampson:
We are at the top of the list of countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions per capita, second only to Qatar …
Data from the United Nations Statistics Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs lists Trinidad and Tobago as the second largest producer of carbon emissions per capita. “The carbon dioxide emission per capita is among the highest in the world … higher than most of the oil economies of the Middle East.” This is how serious our carbon footprint is.
Oh, relax, Desiree. Trinidad and Tobago produces next to nothing by way of carbon, and is only being picked on by the UN due to the statistical anomaly allowed by a tiny 1.4 million-strong population. You exert no great “impact on the world” aside from giving us some of the greatest cricketers to ever play the game (Brian Lara, Larry Gomes and brilliant wicketkeeper Deryck Murray all emerged from these sparsely-peopled islands).
Your carbon footprint, in realistic, non-UN terms, is sparrow-sized. Trinidad and Tobago’s contribution of human-generated carbon dioxide is only 0.06 per cent of the world’s total.
The UN’s creative climate accounting teaches us very little about the planet’s survivability but does teach us a great deal about the UN’s essential dishonesty. We’d be well rid of this corrupt and corrosive organisation. The UN contains more gangsters and criminals than Chicago in the 1920s. In per capita terms, of course.
PRIOR to the 2012 London Olympics, two members of the Australian swimming team were in the US for pre-Games training when they visited a gun shop. Admiring the products on display, the pair posed for a few photographs which they posted online.
Naturally, because Australia’s media is fantastically firearm-frightened, this caused great distress.
“Controversial swimmers Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk could face sanctions from the Australian Olympic Committee after posting photos of themselves on the internet posing with high powered guns,” Fairfax reported. “D’Arcy and Monk posed with the weapons in a gun shop in the US.”
So, in other words, they posed with devices that were legally available for sale. And, of course, the weapons were not loaded at the time, which meant they were precisely as deadly as a cricket bat or any other similarly-sized chunk of metal or wood.
Both swimmers were penalised, as the ABC noted: “Nick D’Arcy and Kenrick Monk will be sent home from the London Games by the Australian Olympic Committee as soon as their swimming events conclude as punishment for their firearm photo controversy.”
Throughout this entire drama, nobody apparently remembered that the 2012 Australian Olympic squad included seventeen men and women who competed in fifteen Olympic shooting events—you know, with pistols, rifles and shotguns, all loaded and blasting away. Maybe those athletes would have found themselves sent home if at some point they’d jumped in a swimming pool.
To summarise. Being photographed in the US with unloaded weapons: bad. Firing loaded weapons in the UK: fine, no problem, let’s win some medals!
Australian media alarm over firearms emerged anew following the deaths of seventeen people in a Florida school shooting in February. That alarm increased when US President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers as a means of dissuading shooters from entering firearm-free schools, where the unarmed are nothing more than defenceless targets.
Trump’s idea, which he subsequently pursued, was greeted in Australia with scorn. Arming teachers? What kind of madness is this? How could adding further firearms be an antidote to firearm violence? (Oddly, our press never becomes so exercised about deaths in Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, where 771 people were murdered in 2016 and 650 were murdered last year. Likewise, the 4349 Chicago shooting victims in 2016 and the 3457 shooting victims in 2017 are rarely mentioned. Chicago has extremely strict firearms regulations.)
Anyway, the Australian press isn’t much interested in the fact that shooting sprees in US schools are invariably ended by guns. That is to say, guns that are brought into schools by police. Adding further firearms ends those horrific homicidal events. Trump’s guns-for-teachers plan would simply reduce the elapsed time between a killer commencing his or her spree and the conclusion of that incident.
The longer a spree continues, the greater number of people who will die. But throw some on-site defensive weapons into the mix and watch the body count decline.
There’s a reason why gun shows and gun shops are so rarely attacked. The same reason explains why areas that ban guns are so often selected for slaughter.